Tuesday , January 21, 2020

Eye on Acquisitions: Mastercard Buying Loyalty Platform Provider; Visa Completes Rambus Deal

The bank card networks lengthened their 2019 streak of merger-and-acquisition activity on Tuesday with Mastercard Inc. announcing it has a deal to acquire marketing software developer SessionM and Visa Inc. reporting it completed its acquisition of Rambus Inc.’s token services and ticketing businesses.

Mastercard said the addition of SessionM will enhance its ability to help brands deliver personalized, real-time offers and comprehensive marketing campaign measurement. SessionM’s customers include Chipotle, L’Oréal, Kimberly-Clark, Coca-Cola, and Air Canada. 

“We believe that the future of loyalty needs to be re-imagined to enable seamless digital experiences, and SessionM’s consumer-centric capabilities will help us broaden our value to marketers across sectors in exciting new ways,” Francis Hondal, Mastercard’s president of loyalty and engagement, said in a press release.

Besides its Boston headquarters, SessionM has offices in Pittsburgh, London, Singapore, and Prague. Terms of the Mastercard buyout, which is expected to close this quarter, were not disclosed.

Meanwhile, Visa now owns Smart Card Software Ltd., a Rambus subsidiary that includes the former Bell ID and Ecebs businesses. Bell ID provided tokenization services while Ecebs developed smart-ticketing systems for mass transit.

Visa said in a news release that its existing Visa Token Service will be able to extend the reach of the Rambus tokenization technology to more retailers, financial institutions and transport operators. Plus, the token service will be able to reach new markets with specific requirements, including the 28 countries in which Rambus operates.

“Beyond tokenization, the digital ticketing portfolio and expertise in transit from Rambus complement Visa’s commitment to delivering global transit and mobility solutions to public transit operators, technology partners, and cities around the world,” Visa said.

Rambus, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chipmaker and software provider, says Visa paid $75 million for Smart Card Software.

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